It’s the first week of the Summer Holidays and I’m sure many young people are jumping for joy at the prospect of having 6 weeks off school.  However, I know that many parents and carers wont be as excited about the prospect of developing a new routine, finding things to do and of course funding the extra activities and meals.

Kay, our Junior and Holiday Club Manager, at the Youth Zone says that “a change of routine over the Summer break can be a good thing but it’s important to ensure there continues to be some structure for children at home.”  Kay thinks that young people and their parents and carers designing a new daily structure for the Summer together means that children and parents have collective ownership over the planned timings and activities.  “You can plan what times you’ll be having meals, what time the children will be getting up or going to bed and when children will have opportunities to do certain activities.”  Kay goes on to say that “having a consistent routine over the Summer period will help when it comes to getting ready for going back to school in September as well.”

Finding things to do over the Summer period can be really challenging for parents and carers.  Lily, aged 11, who attends the Youth Zone put together a bucket list of 10 things she wanted to do at home over the Summer Holidays that wouldn’t cost anything.  She included things like inviting her best friend round, go on a morning walk during sunrise and having a film night at home.  I thought Lily’s idea was a great way of not putting too much pressure on parents to take children to costly activities.

I was pleased to see many of the big supermarket chains offer various deals to support children eating for free or at discounted costs over the Summer period.  The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme is a government funded programme that means children and young people who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals can access free activities and food over the Summer break.  You can get more information about this by visiting Barking and Dagenham Council’s webpage about free holiday activities.

Whatever your plans are with the children for the Summer Holidays, I hope that you and the children have a great time together!